March 6 Democrats and Republicans alike will gather in various schools and other community places and caucus. Turnout is usually only a small percentage of registered voters. The majority of voters see this event shrouded in mystery.
What is the Caucus?
The Caucus is a meeting of members of the party. They pick delegates to support candidates for the offices up for re-election. Specifically in Adams County, here is how it works.
Adams County has 255 precincts. Each of the six house districts has a chair and a co-chair. Each house district in Adams County is divided into four captaincies, each on having a captain and a co-captain. There are anywhere from seven to twelve precincts in each captaincy. The caucus sites are set up by captaincies. Some of the captaincies double up, so there are twenty sites in Adams County. House District 30 and House District 56 have captaincies that are very spread out because of the scares population. A geographic obstacle that splits them up is Denver International Airport. Adams County annexed this land to Denver late in the last century.
When you show up to caucus, you will first check in and get a wrist band. The list used is the list from the County Clerk. If you didn’t become a democrat before January 6 or moved to this precinct after February 5 you will not be on the list. The only exceptions that will be allowed to caucus will be if you turned 18 or became a citizen after the deadline. If you moved after the deadline, you should attend caucus at your old precinct.
You will probably meet as a big group first. There you might hear about different candidates. You will then break out into your separate precincts. Each precinct has a packet. Each precinct is entitled to two Precinct Committee People. If a PCP is there, they will run the caucus. If there is not a PCP, the instructions are simple enough for anyone to lead.
The first task to conduct will be a preference poll for the Democratic candidate for Governor. There are five candidates to choose from. They are Cary Kennedy, Jared Polis, Mike Johnston, Erik Underwood, and Noel Ginsberg. A person can also choose uncommitted. These numbers will be compiled for each site and reported back to the county chair.
Next the precinct will elect delegates. They will elect the number of delegates and alternates listed on the front of the Precinct envelope. The number of delegates to the county assembly is based on the number of Democrats in the precinct. The county assembly has the same number of alternates. The precinct will elect a delegate to the state assembly and most will elect delegates to the congressional district assembly. Some precincts will be combined to select their delegates to the congressional district because of allotted numbers. There are special instructions in the Captains packets for those affected.
Two other important tasks will be to select Precinct Committee people for the next two years and take down names of people wanting to be election judges. . Many precincts have established, dedicated PCPs. Some precincts are in need of new people. PCPs gather once a year or so. They are the fundamental representatives of the Democratic Party. Without them, nothing would get done in our party. People interested in being election judges for this election cycle will have their names forwarded on to the County Clerk. IIt is a paying position, around $12/hour, but it is very important. You may be in charge of overseeing signatures on the mail in ballot and determining their authenticity.
The County Assembly is Saturday, March 24 at the Adams County Fairgrounds Exhibition Hall. The State Assembly is Saturday, April 13 at the Broomfield Events Center. CD 4, 6, and 7 each have separate assemblies.
Delegates at the County Assembly will vote on which candidates they want to put on the primary ballot for two county commissioner races, county clerk, sheriff, county assessor, county treasurer, county coroner and county surveyor. They will break up into house districts and vote on who they want on the primary ballot for those races. Senate District 24 will be doing the same. Candidates need 30% of the delegates to vote for them for each race to get on the primary ballot. If a candidate gets 10%-29% they are allowed to petition on the primary ballot. The number of signatures they need varies. If they get less than 10%, they cannot petition on.
Delegates to the Congressional District will vote on who they want on the primary ballot for their congressional district. Delegates to the State Assembly will vote on who they want on the primary ballot for Governor, Treasurer, Secretary of State, and Attorney General. The same percentages apply in these races also.
If only one candidate makes it to the primary that race will not have a primary.
Being a delegate is a very important job. If you are elected as one you will find out because every candidate for every office you will vote on will be reaching out to you, asking for your support. You can support whomever you want. The power lies with you. This is a fundamental tenant of democracy. Our political climate has sparked interest in party activities in recent years, I hope to see it continue.
See you on March 6!